Best recent book: I read very little fiction, it’s mostly biographies, philosophy, local history and folklore. There are bedside books that I return to over and over again like The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, Tao Te Ching by Lao tzu , The Cork Anthology edited by Sean Dunne and I’ll always have a special place for Pancho & Lefty Ride Out by Cónal Creedon. At Christmas I received a hard-back copy of Three Centuries of Irish Art (Crawford Art Gallery Collection). At last, a work by work guide to the treasure trove in the Crawford Art Gallery collection that has fascinated me since I first discovered it as a young fella rambling around the city centre with my mates.
Occasionally, I’ll still slip through the wrought iron railings on Emmet Place to wonder at the genius of James Barry, Walter Osborne William Orpen, Séamus Murphy and Jack B Yeats. Seán Keating’s ‘Economic Pressure’ or ‘A Bold Peasant Being Destroyed’ is a heart rending scene of emigration from Ireland in the 1940’s. His ‘Men of the South’, a romantic and heroic depiction of the North Cork Brigade in the 1920s, still intrigues me.
Best recent show/exhibition/gig you’ve seen: I usually attend close to a 100 gigs every year and while the big concerts are often a great day out. I usually find that it’s the small ones I remember most fondly. Like local ska band The Service at the Pav in Cork last year — high energy and fine musicianship. Hozier’s gig at the same venue was also very special. Although he was the ‘new kid on the block’ at the time, and there were a lot of Christmas office parties in, you could hear a pin drop. I’m delighted to hear that The Pav is re-opening. From a personal point of view, presenting ‘Céiliúradh’ from the Royal Albert Hall for RTÉ Radio on the occasion of president Higgins’ state visit to England in April was a very moving evening.
What formats do you access music? Unfortunately, because I am away filming so much, all CDs, mp3s and demos sent to my radio show, now go directly to the Radio 1 Music department in Dublin for listening and possible playlisting. I then download from the RTÉ Libraries or from my own personal collection which spans the globe, the centuries and all genres.
First ever piece of music or art that really moved you: When I was aged about six, one of my older sisters brought me to the old Lee Cinema on Winthrop St, to see The Beatles film Help. I have never ever, been the same since. Rory Gallagher’s new year’s concerts at Cork City Hall will always be special. The Beat and The Specials at the Arc in 1981 was another rite of passage.
TV viewing: I actually watch very little , as I’m working on RTÉ Radio 1, weeknights to 10pm. When I do, it’s usually the rarely viewed Bollywood channels, African channels like BEN, Islamic and Christian channels, SkyArts, and back to RTÉ in time for news and sports and anything I’m on myself.
Radio listening: Pretty much RTÉ Radio 1 all day. I sometimes take a break and check out what’s happening locally on C103, 96 FM and Red FM. Other times I turn to my digital radio to listen to my daughters’ local channel in Oz and my sister’s local station in Newfoundland.
Best recent holiday: I had a busy year of it last year. Was working in London, Belfast, Florida, Tenerife and Italy but the real fun bit was when my partner Mairead and I got to Australia for three weeks in November to visit my daughters Martha and Meg. We had so many laughs in Melbourne and Sydney. Then Mairead and I headed to Tasmania for 12 days in a campervan before returning to the girls for a final few days.
Best celebrity encounter: Through my job, I’ve worked with a lot of the heavy-hitters from Pavarotti to Clint Eastwood but they were no craic at all. Can’t beat the Cork crowd!
Tech habits: I’m a bit of a technophobe, but I do tweet. @johncreedon
Weekend treat: A long walk in the wilderness . A few beers along my local strip (MacCurtain St/Coburg St). Watching a Cork team beat someone … anyone.
You are king for a day – what’s your first decree? ‘Ye shalt leave each other the hell alone !’